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Students to Test Bridge Skills

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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Four dozen university engineering teams are on deck to compete this weekend in the 2016 National Student Steel Bridge Competition, sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The annual competition, to be held Friday and Saturday (May 27 and 28) at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, challenges civil engineering students to design and construct a scale-model (1:10) steel structure that meets the supplied client specifications and optimizes performance and economy.

This year marks a quarter-century of the competition, which has evolved from a small academic competition in Michigan to a national showcase of skill and ingenuity that preps students for real-world bridge design, AISC said in its announcement Wednesday (May 18).

Real-World Specs

"The competition is an exciting visual display of students' structural design and analysis skills at work," said Nancy Gavlin, AISC's director of education.

This year marks a quarter-century of the National Student Steel Bridge Competition, which showcases the students' skill and ingenuity while preparing them for real-world bridge design.

Teams are expected to undertake the design, fabrication and construction of their scale-model bridges in the shortest time and under specific building constraints that reflect real-life structural specifications and construction regulations, she explained.

Bridges are then ranked based on a variety of factors including construction cost, construction speed, total bridge weight and bridge stiffness, Gavlin added.

Best of the Best

Throughout 2016, 223 university and college teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, China and the United Arab Emirates have taken part in 18 regional competitions. The top teams from each of these regional contests will now put their skills to the test at the national competition.

The partial list of the 48 schools qualifying for the national-level event includes:

  • Arkansas State University
  • Brigham Young University
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • California State University, Northridge
  • Clemson University
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Cooper Union
  • Drexel University
  • George Mason University
  • George Washington University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Kennesaw State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Oregon State University
  • Polytechnic Institute of New York University
  • SUNY at Buffalo
  • Texas A&M University
  • The University of Akron
  • University of Alaska - Fairbanks
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • West Virginia University
  • Western Kentucky University
  • Youngstown State University

A full list of qualifying schools can be found here.

Real-World Experience

According to the competition rules, the annual Student Steel Bridge Competition is intended to help students increase awareness of real-world engineering issues such as spatial constraints, material properties, strength, serviceability, fabrication and erection processes, safety, aesthetics, project management, and cost.

To achieve success in the contest, students must be able to apply engineering principles and theory and effectively work as a team.

“Future engineers are stimulated to innovate, practice professionalism, and use structural steel efficiently,” AISC states.

Co-sponsors of the 2016 event include the American Galvanizers Association, American Iron and Steel Institute, Bentley Systems Inc., Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, DS SolidWorks Corp., James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation, National Steel Bridge Alliance, and Nucor Corporation.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC); American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); Asia Pacific; Bridges; Colleges and Universities; Competitions; Contests; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Steel

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